Improvements cause limited access to Harbor Road and boat launch - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Improvements cause limited access to Harbor Road and boat launch

The area sees quite a bit of traffic, but that is expected to change with upcoming construction. (Photo source: WLOX News) The area sees quite a bit of traffic, but that is expected to change with upcoming construction. (Photo source: WLOX News)
Bait shop owners worry that the closed road will impact business. (Photo source: WLOX News) Bait shop owners worry that the closed road will impact business. (Photo source: WLOX News)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

According to frequent visitors, it's not uncommon to see a good bit of activity on Harbor Road.

"It's an awesome place to fish," said fisherman, Aaron Evans.

Evans and his buddies cast their lines out into the sound from these piers every possible weekend, and says it's one of the best fishing spots around, and he likes how easy it is to access. But soon, the area will be closed to thru traffic for construction and that might change where he and his friends decide to wet their hooks.

Even so, they don't have hard feelings.

"I mean, it's to better the community. It's what we have to do," said Evans.

Just north of the pier is a boat launch that sees a good bit of traffic on a daily basis. It's going to be closed to access altogether for improvements, which could take up to six months. Some fishermen say the timing might not be the best.

"Over the fall is when the good fishing starts for the trout. You know, the big trout and it's definitely going to cause a problem," said Tracy Sykes.

Sykes and his family use the launch weekly, but that won't be possible in less than 24 hours.

"Yeah, we'll have to find another spot to put over at. I guess Fort Bayou will probably be the closest place," said Sykes.

Fishermen finding other places to go is not what Kenny DiNero likes to hear. His bait shop relies on anglers and boaters who bring their business to the piers and launch just outside his door.

"It's not a good scenario when I'm going to lose $120 - $130,000 worth of business during those months," said DiNero.

While that's not all profit, DiNero says it's what he uses to pay the bills.

"And that's the thing. My rent goes on, my insurance goes on, my light bill goes on. All these things are a factor and the only people that pay that are the customers," added DiNero.

The Harbor Road project is a joint effort between the city of Ocean Springs, Jackson County Board of Supervisors, Harbor Commission, and Division of Marine Resources; funded by the county and tidelands funds. According to city officials, boaters will still be able to launch from the Gulf Coast Research Lab's launch on weekends during the construction period.

Mayor Moran told WLOX News that people looking to buy shrimp off the boats will still be able to get to the boats via La Fontaine Road off of Washington Avenue instead of going down the beach.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

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